• MS Dhoni has amassed 286 runs in eight matches.
  • He has been striking at 169.23 in the ongoing season, helping CSK post mammoth totals.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra said he is pleasantly surprised with the way MS Dhoni has been batting in the ongoing season of Indian Premier League (IPL).

The Chennai Super Kings captain had been heavily scrutinized for his approach to T20 batting in the recent past.

The likes of Chopra, VVS Laxman, and Ajit Agarkar among other former cricketers had expressed reservations about Dhoni's place in the Indian T20I squad after the 36-year-old struggled against New Zealand in a three-match T20I series at home last year.

Chopra had criticised Dhoni's waning ability to get going from the first ball and insisted Team India groomed a young wicketkeeper, who would be replacing the Ranchi stumper after the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Dhoni's form in the last two seasons of IPL for the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant was far from impressive and the dip in his strike rate was a cause for concern.

"I am pleasantly surprised. If you have asked me this question about a year ago, I would have said, things are not looking great," Chopra told The Press Trust of India.

The former India opener added: "He is taking too much time, maybe T20 format is no longer his primary format because what he could do at 25, he is not able to do at 35.

"But then the way, he has turned it around, the second wind seems to be stronger than the first and he has rewound the clock. It is absolutely sensational."

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni has scored 286 runs from eight matches in the ongoing season.IANS

Dhoni key to CSK's success in IPL 2018

Dhoni, as Chopra points out, has turned it around remarkably well in the ongoing season. The 36-year-old is able to get going right from the word go and has already amassed 286 runs at 71.50 in eight matches.

The CSK captain has been striking at 169.23 in IPL 2018, which is in stark contrast to his strike of 116.00 last season. He has been demolishing opposition bowlers in the death overs, helping CSK post mammoth totals.

With the likes of Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja adding firepower to the lower-middle order, Dhoni has had the freedom to bat higher up the order. The skipper, who hit a match-winning 22-ball 51 against the Delhi Daredevils on April 30, said he is enjoying the responsibility of going into bat early in the innings.

"I can promote myself and come out at No. 5. It's more fun when you go into the 8th and 10th overs and the bowler doesn't know when you will go for the big runs," Dhoni had said.

"It's very important for us to get off to a good start, not necessarily in terms of runs, but even a good partnership."